Scottish Rugby announces restructure of women’s season

Women’s rugby in Scotland will be played in a new revamped structure from 2019, Scottish Rugby announced today.

The season will be broken into three distinct cup, sevens and league sections.

Cup competitions will be played from March, culminating at the end of April, while sevens competitions keep their traditional place in the calendar in May and June. 

League fixtures kick-off in August and run until the beginning of December.

The new format is designed to enable clubs to attract bigger, more consistent squad sizes as the majority of inclement seasonal weather falls outwith the playing window.

Scottish Rugby Head of Women & Girls’ Rugby, Gemma Fay, said: “The aim is to make playing rugby as easy and stress-free as possible.

Better weather and considered timings for the season should make playing more attractive for a greater number of women, whatever level they are at.”

The move follows consultation and a majority vote from all clubs that currently have a women’s section and will ensure their teams have the opportunity to reach an integrated Cup Finals Day with the best of the country’s men’s teams.

Scotland Women second-row, Emma Wassell, said: “As a player, the season restructure is really exciting.

Playing in better weather helps to promote fast, enjoyable rugby and ensuring that Scottish women’s rugby continues to be part of Cup Finals Day is hugely important as well.

“Hopefully clubs will find it easier to attract players and keep training numbers up as weather becomes less of a factor.”

Regional high-performance matches are planned following the conclusion of the league section of the domestic season which will ensure that women playing at the highest level and challenging for selection with Scotland Women continue to have regular training and game-time.

Fay added: “Clubs and the national team should benefit from the new structure as game time becomes more regular.

The new structure not only works alongside the high-performance and international set-up but may even increase the number matches for some players during a time when, in the past, domestic fixtures have been cancelled.”

This coming domestic season will operate as a shortened transition season from August to November before commencing the new schedule in March 2019.

Teams in the Tennent’s National Leagues will play one fixture home or away against each other team in their league before it ‘splits’ based on standings. The sides grouped together then play each other once more home or away.

The Tennent’s Women’s North League will feature home and away fixtures between all sides.

League and cup double winners Hillhead/Jordanhill will open their Premier League title defence at home to Stewartry while last year’s runners-up Murrayfield Wanderers host Cartha Queen’s Park.

Sarah Beaney Cup finalists Watsonians will be looking to build on a successful second-half of the 2017/18 season when they host Corstorphine Cougars, while Annan welcome Stirling County in the remaining opening round game.

In Tennent’s Women’s National League 1, relegated Ayr play Greenock Wanderers and Women’s Club of the Season, Oban Lorne, play Broughton in their first games.

Kelso, Aberdeenshire and Ardrossan Accies enjoy home ties on the opening weekend of Tennent’s National League Division 2 and Grangemouth, who receive a bye in the first round play their first match away to Ardrossan the following week.

The Tennent’s North League kicks off with Orkney playing Inverness Craig Dunain and Shetland versus Banff.

Figures recently released by Scottish Rugby highlighted the growth of the women’s game as a 19% increase in women’s teams across the country brought the total number to 62.

For a full list of the 2018 transition season fixtures please click here.

Women’s Season 2019 onwards

March – April: Cup competitions

May – June: Sevens competitions

June – August: Mid-season break

August – December: League competitions